For awhile now, Seattle has been gearing up to open two safe drug injection sites in King County. If the proposal is passed, the sites are projected to provide around-the-clock supervision to drug abusers who come to the areas in the county to smoke or inject illegal substances in a safe place. Staff would administer clean supplies like needles and syringes to users, while each member would have access to naloxone, a drug used to reverse the effect of opioids, to prevent overdoses. Seattle's major issues with its citizens and chronic drug use has affected the city for years. The idea for the sites has been proposed as a radical effort to impede the trend of heroin-related overdoses in King County, one of the Seattle cities that have long struggled with managing its issues with chronic drug use.
Since the proposal was introduced last year, there have been a number of conflicting opinions surrounding the idea. Supporters claim that the sites would expose users to rehabilitative efforts while keeping them alive long enough for them to seek help. Critics say that the sites would only increase drug use, and is an act that condones and encourages visitors to keep using. The latest efforts from objectors could have the potential to stop the plans of implanting injection sites in their tracks if qualified.
Chief sponsor and Bothell city council member Joshua Freed has never hid his disapproval for the proposal. In fact, he felt so strongly about the issue that he, along with other opposers of the sites, decided to create a group and propose an initiative to ban the safe-injection sites. The initiative would also ban the public consumption of heroin and all other Schedule I drugs except for Marijuana, which is legal in Washington but state law prohibits public consumption. The group, who call themselves Citizens for a Safer King County, need to collect signatures from 47,443 to qualify for the November ballot.
Senator Mark Miloscia has also been a known opponent of the safe-injection sites, and has been vocal about the proposal's approach to regulating drug use and the potential effects of public safety. He argues that addicted drug users need the threat of law enforcement and criminal sanctions in order to consider treatment. He said in a recent interview that residents should “stigmatize people who get hooked on drugs to get into treatment.” He and other opposers believe that an emphasis should be placed on discouraging doctors from prescribing opiates and equipping law enforcement officers with the drug naloxone to reduce overdoses.
“This is the most radical change to drug policy in America since prohibition,” Miloscia said. They are doing this behind some smoke filled room, the citizens need to be involved.”
Both Miloscia and Freed predict that the initiative will win in King County and even gain approval in Seattle.
If you have been arrested on drug-related charges you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.